Buy One, Give One

Don’t forget to enter the Rebecca St. James CD Giveaway! It ends Friday!

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed the TOMS Shoes Ad on my right sidebar or not, but I want to bring your attention to it today for several reasons. Have you heard of TOMS Shoes? They’re super comfy! Even more than quality shoes, I like them because for every pair that is purchased, they give a pair to children in need. One for one. As of September 2010, TOMS has given over one million pairs of new shoes to children in need through Giving Partners around the world.

Pretty good reason to like a company, huh?

I can’t help but wonder, will the work that TOMS Shoes is doing directly touch the life of our Ethiopian child we’re waiting to adopt? I know they have given to children in Ethiopia. It makes me wonder if they are saving our child from from serious infection as a result of walking barefoot.

And it makes me want to share them with you.

Tomorrow April 5th, 2011, is One Day Without Shoes. Would you consider signing up and going barefoot to help spread the word about TOMS Shoes and the work that they are doing for children in need?

To do double duty, go without shoes and order a pair of  TOMS!  The kids shoes are adorable!

The Kindness Of Friends

When I went to Relevant, I scrimped and saved to get there. Now,  I’m not usually much of a “girly-girl”, but I realized that I would be seeing my online friends in real-life for the first time. A sense of panic rose from somewhere deep inside and insecurity bubbled to the surface for various reasons. My mind transported me back to middle school when my insecurities were at their worst.

So I asked a friend from church with impeccable style if I could come play dress up in her closet and borrow a few things. I figured a few of her accessories paired with my basics would be good enough to get me through the weekend without having to buy a new wardrobe. But then a funny thing happened…she brought me a box.

Wrapped in paper and topped with a bow

I tried to refuse it–say it was “too much.” She knowingly smiled and extended her hand to give it to me anyway. When I opened the gift, I was immediately moved to tears. It was a perfect outfit for me–she even guessed my size correctly! I put it on and immediately stood taller, my insecurities melting away. She gave me exactly what I needed—encouragement and self confidence in a new place meeting new people.

How blessed I am by the kindness of friends!

Relevant friends

Meeting new friends at Relevant

I’m always amazed at this online community I’m a part of. People rallying–using a blog post, Facebook status, or tweet to spread the word. Until now, it’s always been about someone else in another state that I wouldn’t recognize on the street. But recently, I’ve found myself the recipient of some fabulous linky love from other bloggers helping to spread the word about our adoption fundraising….handing me a gift wrapped in paper and topped with a bow.

Here is a list of some kind online friends that have blessed us with a blog post:

Tara at Mommy Missions (met her at Relevant–you’ll hear more about her soon!)

Kelly at Domestic By Design (a college friend of mine that I reunited with online)

Jolanthe at Homeschool Creations (met her at Relevant–you’ll hear more soon!)

Marci at Overcoming Busy (met her at Relevant–she’s so sweet!)

Eryn at Mama Hall (met her at Relevant. God made our paths cross for a reason that is still playing out)

Debbie at Happy Clippings (PURCHASED from my shop and gave them away to her blog readers!!)

Crystal at Domestic But Not Martha (Sweet Twitter Friend–never met her, but could hug her for all of the extra tweets!)

Tracy at Sweet Harper (Never met her, but am so thankful for her kindness! We’re twitter friends now!)

How blessed I am by the kindness of friends!

**If I have left anyone out, PLEASE leave a comment and I’ll add your link to the list! We appreciate all of the help and want to link to you!**

Top Ten Ways to Give this Holiday Season

I know you are still finishing off the last of the candy corn, but the holiday season is here! For some, the holidays mean family gatherings, presents, and lots of yummy treats. While we love all of those things, too, in the Happy Brown House, the holiday season also means GIVING!

This year our family wants to be intentional about giving and making a big impact. We’ve been praying and planning about what and where God wants us to give. I thought I’d share some ideas on our list to help get you thinking, too…

1. Sponsor a child through Compassion International!

2. Pack a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child! Collection Week is November 15-22

3. Donate to The Mercy House Kenya or purchase a Christmas gift from their Etsy shop! (Have I mentioned how much I love my necklace? I do. I plan outfits around it…Seriously.)

4. Give Water! Take your pick….Blood:Water Mission, Living Water International, Charity:Water

5. Pick a local family to bless! (Ask a church or school to help you connect with a needy family)

6. Volunteer to serve a meal at your local homeless shelter.

7. Pick a name from the “Angel Tree”. Have your children help choose the name and gifts!

8. Volunteer at the Ronald McDonald House! Can you imagine how hard it must be to have a sick child during the holidays? Go love on these families!

9. Visit a shut-in. Give them the gift of conversation or offer to help them with a household project.

10. Give a copy of your favorite book to a classroom.

11. Fill in the blank: ________ I’m sure you’ve got ideas, too. Share them with me in the comments!

How are you planning to give?

The Mercy House


A trip: The catalyst to a God-sized dream for an ordinary American family.

A vision: A maternity home in Africa.

The reason:

The Mercy House exists to provide alternative options for pregnant girls living in the streets of Kenya. The Mercy House will aid them in nutrition, housing, prenatal care, counseling, Biblical teaching and job skills for sustainable living.

The verse. The command. The call to action.

He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. ~Micah 6:8

I haven’t been able to stop thinking about The Mercy House since I heard about it. I’ve doodled the logo on random pieces of paper. I’ve dreamt about it. I’ve prayed about it. You see it wasn’t enough for me to just hear about it and think “Oh, that’s nice” like we so often do. No, I have felt compelled to do something. To be obedient to the prompting of the Holy Spirit.

I’ve donated some of my handmade gifts to The Mercy House Etsy Shop. It’s just a drop in the bucket, but I’d love it if you went over there and do your shopping thing to help support them! (The Christmas shopping countdown has begun…)

And look what else you can get over there

Yeah, I want one too. Now go…Love Mercy.